Although I’m sure no one from the 90s saw this coming, Mike Tyson has been giving quality quotes as of late. He was recently asked about President Obama and the expectations placed on him by the Black community. Tyson stated, I’m not blaming Obama. It has nothing to do with Obama. What, he’s the President of the United States and he’s supposed to help us? That’s never happened in history. No president has only cared about the African-American community and I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.”
The lack of trust between the African-American community and the Presidency is nothing new, yet for some reason, hundreds and maybe thousands of African-Americans based their support for Barack Obama on this rather juvenile idea. Has the plight of our people gotten so bad that instead of trying to help ourselves, we’re relying on political veracity? Running on a platform of “Change” and then “Hope” to garner the black vote was a great PR move for the presidential campaign, but in reality it was just that. As a people, we have to stop relying on visceral verbiage, romanticized rhetoric, and duplicitous discourse when forming our own political ideologies.
Mike Tyson hit the nail on the head when he stated that the concerns of the Black community have never been a priority for the White House. At some point, we have to start realizing that yes, we are a minority. We may be a severely under-served and underrepresented minority, but nonetheless, this is not just our country. We need to start following suite with other minorities, and start taking advantages of opportunities that will solve some of our problems; whether they’re specifically for us or not. Food stamps, unemployment assistance, affirmative action, etc…none of these programs were created by a politician looking to help ease the pain of African-Americans; these services were created for people who needed them at the time.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans from all income levels are now able to get affordable health care. Make no mistake, President Obama did not do this for us, but since we’re so disproportionately affected in almost every area of major disease and illness, let’s be grateful for it. Let’s get tested for HIV/AIDs, and let’s get screened for cancer and heart disease. Focus on making sure our children and elders are using their vision and dental benefits, since often times these are left out of lower income insurance plans. My point is, let’s try to not be worried about the wrong things now that we’re redundantly aware that the government does not care about black people.
Race relations in this country are as bad now as they have ever been. If you’ve ever felt that as a community we “made it” then you’re already part of the problem. If you’ve ever felt like the positive changes that have affected us were the result of a kind-hearted politics, you’re even more at fault. Any change, accomplishment, or precedent that we’ve set is a direct result of our own hard work, resilience, and tenacity; not some political mouthpiece. If you want to set the standard of excellence that high for the first Black president, someone who is not your peer, family, or acquaintance; why can’t you expect the same from the people you actually know? There’s nothing wrong with being critical of your government, and in fact, often times it’s healthy and necessary. However, criticism without self-reflection and action is just a complaint, and a useless one at that. It’s sad to think that this country that we’ve taken care of for the last 300 years will never love us, but it is what it is. The least we can do is accept it and start worrying about taking care of ourselves.